I Can’t Make Up My Mind About That Summers Boy…
I’m not sure how I feel about Cable. A part of me loves the concept of this character, but a larger part (no, not that part you perverts) despises just about everything that’s ever been done with him. I really feel like he had a great potential, but I think his reputation is damaged beyond repair. When Cable first showed up on the scene, he was a mysterious loner from the future who had come back to prepare people for the dark times ahead. Apparently, James Cameron does not read comic books because Marvel was not sued for this. But I suppose he didn’t have much recourse since the idea wasn’t precisely his to begin with. Louise Simoson “stole” his idea just after he’d finished “stealing” it from Harlan Ellison.
Nevertheless, I think that it was a fantastic premise for a character in the X-Men books. We could already tell that the future wasn’t likely to be filled with hoverboards and rehydratable pizzas, so having a badass cyborg come back to train the New Mutants made a lot of sense. And he was certainly a badass. He was basically Clint Eastwood on steroids… with a robotic arm. And just as Harry Callahan had the .44 Magnum, Cable had a gun the size of one of the children over whom he was watching. That’s not even hyperbole, get a load of the picture. That gun’s as big as Wolfsbane, and we can’t even see the whole thing. When he showed up, I had a feeling this kids were gonna be ready, come what may.
And then Cable got popular and artist Rob Liefeld became a huge hit. So, as was the fashion in those times, Marvel let him do whatever the hell he wanted despite the fact that he couldn’t write his way out of a paper bag (or, as later demonstrated, a pocket universe created by Franklin Richards). Technically, Fabian Nicieza was guilty of writing the later New Mutants and X-Force, but it’s clear that he was put in that position to more or less take dictation from Liefeld. And together, they made Cable the embodiment of everything that was awesome. And that’s too often the problem, isn’t it? When a character is intentionally engineered to be cool and popular, they more often than not turn out to be a big, lame turd.
A lot of the problem was that they began to explain his back-story, despite the fact that the mystery was the much of the appeal. They decided he was the fully grown child of Scott Summers and Madelyne Pryor, having been sent into the future as a means of protecting him. If you’re not familiar, Madelyne Pryor was Cyclops’ wife who just so happened to be an exact twin of his first girlfriend. Cyclops was in a tough place, it’s kinda hard to explain unless you’ve ever liked a girl who was the host for a cosmic deity, and eventually sacrificed herself for the good of the universe. And then you met someone who looked just like her, and you got married only to have the original girl come back to life and split you up. And then second girl makes a deal with some demons and transforms Manhattan into a hellish wasteland, and is only stopped by the first girl absorbing the second girl’s entire being… Hey, you know what? Just take Cyclops’ word for it.
The reason I’ve been thinking so much about Cable as a character is because it’s rumored he’ll be featured in the next X-Men movie. If they play it right, he could be an excellent addition to their lineup and more than likely a big breakout character. They just need to keep it simple. They’ve proven, often to the dismay of fans, that they’re not afraid to piss in the face of the source material… well, here’s a case where that wouldn’t be the worst idea. I think they’d be fine to lose a lot of the origin story as long as they remembered a few key points:
1) Sent back in time as a mentor to young mutants.
2) The less we know, the better.
3) Has a ludicrously oversized gun.
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